Antonio Cromartie: No slight intended

Updated: August 3, 2012, 6:38 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who fueled a controversy by declaring himself the second-best wide receiver on the team, offered no regrets Friday and refused to back away from his opinion.

Cromartie also suggested that receiver Chaz Schilens should've confronted him instead of telling reporters about the perceived "slight."

"I would rather for them to come say something to me about it than saying something in the media," said Cromartie, commenting for the first time on the matter. "We're all men and we're all teammates -- I didn't, in any kind of way, try to disrespect them. I was just talking about my abilities."

There was a priceless moment at the end of practice, when one of the backup receivers -- Patrick Turner -- caught a short touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez. The defender was -- you guessed it -- Cromartie, who later claimed that Turner got away with a push-off.

Turner's offensive teammates mobbed him in the end zone. Center Nick Mangold mocked Cromartie, yelling amid the celebration that Turner was the second-best receiver on the team.

"That was the only play given up all day," said Cromartie, alluding to the dominant performance by the defense. "Them boys couldn't catch a ball on our defense."

It all started Tuesday, when Cromartie bragged about his potential as a receiver on ESPN's "First Take." He was asked about wide receiver, because the coaches are considering him in that role. The next day, Schilens took umbrage, prompting Rex Ryan to address the matter in a team meeting -- a sign of possible fracturing in the locker room.

"I don't regret saying it," Cromartie said. "Why would I regret saying something that's already been said?"

Cromartie said the media blew it out of proportion and took his comments out of context when interviewing Schilens.

"If the receivers felt like they were disrespected, they could've come and talked to me and I'd explain to them exactly what I meant," he said. "But no, I don't regret saying it at all."

Cromartie said he wasn't confronted by any receivers, claiming "it's not an issue in our locker room at all."

He could've defused the issue two days ago, but he blew off reporters Wednesday and Thursday. He didn't backtrack, insisting he has the size, athleticism and work ethic to be the second-best receiver, behind Santonio Holmes.

"I can still say I am," he said.

Turner insisted he took no offense to Cromartie's remarks.

"Cro was just having fun with it," he said. "People wanted to take certain things out of it and make it more serious than what it was.

"I'm sure we've got guys on offense that feel they could do the same on defense."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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